A row of electric vehicles charging

Electric vehicle legislation enables rollout of UK charging network

Image credit: Dreamstime

Parliament has passed an act which will allow for crucial infrastructure for electric vehicles to be built throughout the UK.

The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act is the main piece of legislation relating to provision of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, as well as laying out the groundwork for future regulation of autonomous vehicles, such as by ensuring that drivers are covered by their insurance policies even when using autonomous modes.

Last year, a Times investigation suggested that UK residents face a “postcode lottery” when it comes to access to electric vehicle charging points. While experts tend to agree that the main roadblock preventing the widespread uptake of electric vehicles is the limited number of charging points (making recharging inconvenient in many parts of the country), there is some disagreement over where new charging points should be located.

The law – which was first announced in October – will grant the government new powers to upgrade motorway services with charging points and allow city and regional mayors to request their installation at petrol stations in their area, in order to cope as demand increases over the coming years. The government has pledged to phase out all diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 in its ‘Road to Zero’ strategy, formally setting in motion the move towards electric and hybrid vehicles.

Already fuel giants BP, Shell and the Motor Fuel Group are preparing for this expansion, having invested in electric vehicle charging technology.

It also laws down regulations to ensure that charging points are compatible with all vehicles and introduces standards regarding payment, access, security, and to ensure that they are all ‘smart’ (capable of receiving and responding to signals from electric vehicles).

“The UK is becoming a world leader in the roll out of low-emission transport. Today we have passed a significant milestone in that journey,” said Roads Minister Jesse Norman, in a statement. “The increasing automation of our cars is transforming the way we drive and the government is steadily updating our laws in order to prepare for the future.”

“This act will ensure that the UK’s infrastructure and insurance system is ready for the biggest transport revolution in a century.”

The law will be implemented on a date of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s choosing.

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